Episode 296 – Scott Usher

Scott is an Accountant & Actor

Scott Usher returns to the podcast from episode #61 to talk about his recent performances as a theatre actor, how having connections with colleagues can make you more effective at your job, and examples of how Bader Martin encourages building these connections!

Episode Highlights

Participating in virtual play readings
Acting in Harold Pinter one-acts
Activities at Bader Martin that promote building internal relationships
Examples of how Scott has built connections through his passion for acting


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    Welcome to Episode 296 of What’s Your “And”? Follow-Up Friday edition. This is John Garrett, and each Friday, I’m following up with a guest who had been on the show a few years ago, to hear what’s new with their passions outside of work and also hear how this message might have impacted them since we last talked.

    I’m so excited to let everyone know that my book’s being published in September. It’ll be available on Amazon, Indigo and a few other websites, so check out whatsyourand.com for all the details and when the pre-sale is going to happen. Or you can sign up for my exclusive list and be the first to know when it’s coming out.

    Please don’t forget to hit subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss any of the future episodes. I love sharing such interesting stories each and every Wednesday and now with Follow-Up Fridays, and this one’s going to be no different with my guest, Scott Usher. He’s a principal in the Tech Services at Bader Martin in Seattle, and now he’s with me here today. Scott, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?

    Scott: Thank you for inviting me.

    John: Absolutely, man. It’s always fun to connect. I have my rapid fire questions right out of the gate here, get to know Scott, so some different ones from the first time we talked. So, if you had to choose, Harry Potter or Game of Thrones.

    Scott: Harry Potter.

    John: Harry Potter, all right. How about a favorite activity from gym class when you were a kid?

    Scott: Dodgeball.

    John: Oh, solid answer. I don’t know if they’re allowed to do that anymore, which is a shame. It’s such a classic. How about more jeans or khakis?

    Scott: Khakis.

    John: Okay, okay. How about a favorite Disney character?

    Scott: Jafar came to mind. I think he’s more complex than people realize.

    John: Yeah, that’s deep. That’s a deep answer. Okay, how about a good hamburger or a good pizza?

    Scott: Hamburger. It takes more creativity to make it good.

    John: Oh, there you go, there you go. Okay, two more. How about a favorite sports team?

    Scott: Oh, Seahawks.

    John: Yeah, I was going to say it’s pretty much a slam dunk, I would imagine. The last one, toilet paper roll, over or under.

    Scott: Over. It’s in the actual patent designs.

    John: Right, right. The other way is just illegal. It’s wrong.

    Scott: You have to handle too much.

    John: Exactly. No, I totally agree. I just love asking that because every once in a while, I get an under, and there’s a reason. I’m not sure if I believe them. Episode 61, God bless you for being on so long. It was so early. I had no idea what I was doing. I’m not sure if I know now, but it was so fun talking about theater and all the shows that you had done and the cool roles that you had. Is theater still a part of your life?

    Scott: Yeah, yeah, it’s kind of different. I’ve had some opportunities recently to go ahead and do some online deals, and I’ve got one coming up where we’re just going to basically hang out in a virtual Zoom room and do a play reading. Everybody’s got their part, and we’re just going to, just work it and have fun with it.

    John: Yeah, that’s really cool that technology still allows you to keep pursuing those passions.

    Scott: Yeah. I’ve actually seen a number of playwrights are using it as a way to get their work out there earlier than they probably would have otherwise, because everybody understands the limitations, so we may see a lot more new work develop.

    John: Oh, wow. That’s an interesting point, yeah, because then you can workshop it and do those readings virtually and then more people can have exposure to it as well because it’s all online.

    Scott: Yup.

    John: That’s impressive, man. That’s impressive. But even before all of this, were you able to do quite a few shows last year and —

    Scott: Yeah, last year, I think I had a chance to do — there’s a great playwright named Harold Pinter, and he’s written some of the most classic plays out there and did a couple of one acts that he had done. I had the opportunity to be in one. I had never gotten to do serious, serious drama before.

    John: Right, yeah, because you were usually doing some humorous characters or bringing some personality to that, right?

    Scott: Or musicals, yeah.

    John: Or musicals, yeah, yeah.

    Scott: It was fun to be able to actually then kind of explore character in a smaller role and really get into the nuances of things, so it’s a good learning experience, too.

    John: Yeah, yeah, I never thought about that. Plus, when it’s just like a one act thing, is it usually where there’s a lot more going on in a shorter amount of time? Or is it just something happens and it’s just maybe just a deeper experience for everyone involved?

    Scott: It’s more of kind of a complete idea just expressed through something that’s under an hour long.

    John: Oh, okay. That seems to be the way everything’s going these days with just — it’s like the YouTube version of a show or whatever. Just like, can you speed it up? It’s like, no, no, sometimes the longer ones are good type of thing. I know that you’ve shared it with coworkers when we talked on Episode 61 and stuff like that. Have you seen more people sharing their hobbies and passions now, or is there still work for me to do?

    Scott: I think we’re seeing it a little bit more because we’ve been having virtual events, and leading up to them, we’ve had things — we’ve had chances to talk to people. We’ve even had a new hire come on. We’ve had a chance to interview our new person, what they’re doing, what they like. The human support, HR people have had things like trivia, immaturely before, but things like photo scavenger hunts and people say what their favorite places are to vacation, to have lunch. So, it’s actually, I think, fostered more opportunity through kind of a bigger virtual break room to get to know that type of stuff about people.

    John: I love that, virtual break room. That’s such a great visual. Yeah, because that’s the thing, all working from home stuff, we’ve all seen each other raw now. I’ve been in your house type of a thing, and vice versa, and maybe people that you would never have invited over. We’ve seen someone in pajamas. We’ve seen their kids running around. We’ve seen what kind of art they have on their walls, all those things. It’s cool to see how it’s created a positive experience there at Bader Martin, rally cool. Even before all this, did you think that people were sharing or that you were encouraging that type of thing as a firm?

    Scott: Oh, most definitely. So many times, when we talk to a client about why we did or didn’t get a job, say, on a proposal, it comes down to the one-on-one time we had with each other, not just what we put down on paper. So, it was about the real people. I continue to have people say, “Oh, I was reading your bio.” Or could be client that we haven’t had for a while and they just happen to read the bio and they say, “I didn’t know you did these things.” It’s maybe a point of common interest, something they’ve done, or something that’s really important to them. Those one act plays by Harold Pinter, a controller of one of our companies actually came all the way over from Seattle to see it because he’s a big Pinter fan and had some connection to the family. So, we’ve built a deeper level of connection with the client over an issue.

    John: That’s fantastic. Yeah, that’s really great, and I love how you have it in the bio on the website. Because so many people are so worried about, here’s how smart I am, and here’s everything I know. I wonder how often people reach out, saying, “Hey, I noticed,” whatever smarty pants things people have on their website versus those personal things that are usually just slapped onto the end but tend to get the most attention.

    Scott: Absolutely.

    John: That’s awesome. That’s so great to hear that, one of the clients comes all the way, yeah, like a ferry ride to get to where you are, to see a show like that. Do you feel like people are talking about hobbies and passions more in the office?

    Scott: I think so. I really do. I can mostly speak for myself, but we’ve got different groups specialize in like Estate and Trust or Real Estate or operating businesses in retail. We’re starting to get together in smaller groups, which I think makes that happen, at one end of the scale, probably even more because it’s — you get together and, either before or after the meeting, you say, “Hey, what’s going on? What’s new in your life and everything?” I think at our firm, people are, they’re not closed off. They’re always willing to go ahead and mention just interesting things they’re doing and places they’ve been.

    John: That’s great, yeah, because that’s where conversations happen, in that. Yeah, that’s really fantastic because that’s not always the case type of a thing.

    Scott: Yeah, and it helps us work together. Collaboration, I think, is better because it’s not so strictly just, here’s our task. Okay, go back and go to your desk and do work.

    John: Right. I guess it shows that you care about them as a person and all the other things that they’re interested in type of thing. Plus, I would imagine that — I mean, for me personally, when I worked in the corporate world, I didn’t want to talk about work all the time. It was okay to take a little breather, to talk about something normal, if you will. Then you find people that have the same interest and all of sudden, you’re best friends for no reason, type of thing, and that connection just becomes a lot stronger, like you mentioned.

    Scott: Yeah.

    John: That’s awesome, man. That’s really cool. Do you have any words of encouragement to anyone listening that thinks that maybe they have a hobby or a passion that has nothing to do with their job?

    Scott: I’d encourage people just to open up it and really share that because you’re going to find other people who have common interests or complementary interests. When we can get together, whether it’s during business hours or after business hours, and get to be people with people and not just different levels of accounting, I think that makes time go by faster. It ultimately makes us more effective at what we do because we’re enjoying the people we’re working with, and it’s more real.

    John: Right, it’s more real. That’s huge, yeah, because people that don’t know you do theater; yeah, sure, you’re really good at taxes, but so is probably everyone else at Bader Martin, too. They’re also good at taxes. They’re not there on accident. But all of a sudden, you start to throw in these little nuances of what different people like to do outside of work, and all of a sudden, it becomes an interesting group of people that you’re around, like a play, if you will. There’s now characters that have personalities, instead of, oh, it’s just, we have 30 of the exact same character. That would be a terrible play.

    Scott: That’s right.

    John: I just thought of that. Totally, though, I would not go see that. I don’t care how good the music was. I would never see that musical. Unless it was Cats and they were all the rocker cat, then I would probably go to see that. Even then, it would get boring.

    Scott: Trying to do Cats in many ways.

    John: Right, right.

    Scott: Very easily.

    John: Exactly. Or like Hamilton, like you said, we were talking earlier, just came out on the Disney Plus, and every character can’t be Hamilton. There has to be other characters too, like the king who’s hilarious. Yeah, that’s exactly how it works out. I think that’s such great encouragement for everybody listening. That’s awesome.

    It’s only fair that I turn the tables and let you question me, if you’d like, Scott. It’s now the Scott Usher show, and you can now rapid fire question me since I so rudely fired away at you in the beginning. I’m ready. I’m buckled in.

    Scott: No worries. About how many days do you spend on the road?

    John: Oh, how many days on the road, that’s a good question. Obviously, in the last couple of months, not as much; but typically, in a month, maybe five days, I’m away, but a lot of them are quick strikes. I fly in, speak at a conference, maybe I’ll stay a night or two, and then come back type of thing, so, yeah, not too long. When I was doing the comedy clubs, that would be 20-plus days a month, I was gone. It’s a lot better now, that’s for sure, lifestyle-wise.

    Scott: What was last movie you watched that made you laugh out loud uncontrollably?

    John: Oh, wow, last movie. Oh, Jojo Rabbit, we just watched that. I laughed pretty hard at that. That’s a dark comedy, for sure. It’s about a kid who has an imaginary friend who happens to be Hitler in Germany but then it all works out for the good in the end. It’s just an interesting premise that leads to a lot of unusual circumstances, but there are a lot of funny parts in there that I definitely laughed at that. Then, more recently on Netflix, I watched Space Force which was pretty funny. Steve Carell is hilarious. There’s a lot of funny people in that show. That was a funny one too.

    Scott: Great. One more, Star Trek versus Star Wars.

    John: Oh, Star Wars all day. Star Wars all day. We might have to fight on this. I don’t know. I just grew up when Star Wars first came out. I remember going to the theater for that as a very, very young child. Although, that being said, I have not seen anything after the first three. I didn’t hear good things, so I was like, I don’t want to ruin it. So, after Return of the Jedi, I don’t know anything after that. There you go.

    Well, thanks so much, Scott, for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”? This was super fun to catch up. Thanks.

    Scott: Thank you.

    John: Absolutely, and everybody listening, if you want to see some pictures of Scott in action or maybe connect with him on social media, be sure to go to whatsyourand.com. All the links are there, and while you’re on the page, please click that big button, do the anonymous research survey about corporate culture.

    Thanks again for subscribing on iTunes or whatever app you use and for sharing this with your friends so they get the message that we’re all trying to spread, that who you are is so much more than what you do.


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